The sounding of a siren to halt play due to poor light probably did Pádraig Harrington a favour on the opening day of the thunderstorm affected Turkish Airlines Open at Belek.
The storm forced a three-hour delay to the start of play and, with the light fading, only 15 players in the elite 78-player field completed their round.
Irish Open champion Paul Casey finished the day sharing the lead with South African Darren Fichardt and Agentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez at seven under par and the Englishman still has four holes to play.
Harrington had just walked onto the 17th tee when officials signalled players could either finish the hole they were on or mark their ball ahead of an 8am local time restart this morning.
The triple Major winning Harrington, who is in Turkey with his wife and two sons, had raced to three under par but was struggling with 11 straight pars.
“They blew the horn with two holes to go so it was not the worst thing for my round, as it had kind of stalled,” he said.
“After those three early birdies, I just couldn’t manage to chip it quite close enough on the two par fives for any birdie chance.
“I did have a lot of birdie chances over those 11 holes, a lot of chance, so I can’t complain about not being under par, but I do feel I left a little bit out there. Even if I had of made one more birdie that would have been nice.”
Harrington arrived on the Mediterranean holiday shoreline lying 67th on the Race to Dubai standings and €78,673 shy of being top-60 and qualifying for next week’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
After the adjustment in the standings following last week’s WGC – HSBC Champions event the qualified accountant knows exactly where he needs to finish if to move onto Dubai.
“I need to finish 10th on the my own,” he said.
If so, it will need to be Harrington’s best finish since he shared 10th in June’s FedEx St Jude Classic in Memphis.
Damien McGrane was two under par after 11, while Shane Lowry was among the 15 who finished but his scorecard was blighted by an 11th hole double bogey in his round of a level par.
“I was cruising then doubled the 11th when I three putted from two feet, so I don’t know what happened as I had a had a brain freeze, and I was already thinking of the tee shot,” he said.
“Then to be standing on the 18th fairway with a three-iron in my hand and then to make a six and bogey just before the siren sounded was also disappointing. That’s just the way the last few weeks have been going, playing alright and not getting what I deserve really.”
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